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28 Stanford Journal of International Law 139 (1991)


Some observers have argued that because of a lack of enforcement powers, international law has relatively little impact on the conduct of nations and, in fact, may not be "law" at all. Others have inquired whether legal norms which underlie international human rights law have any influence on the domestic law of signatory nations. This article argues that international law can profoundly influence the development of the domestic laws of nations regardless of the lack of coercive enforcement powers. This point becomes clear through a consideration of Japan's experience in adopting and internalizing international law norms.